I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art

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Today with the advent of social media and self-publishing, the world is subjected to more boring artwork than ever. People have lost of art of self editing and the lack of third party gatekeepers – curators, gallery owners etc allows the flood gates of boring art to flow.

Jay Maisel wrote the following poem for his photography workshop students:

If it doesn’t excite you,
the thing that you see,
then why in the world
would it excite me?

Words to live by!

My Equipment: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

tips

I’m headed to Banff later this summer and I needed to add a landscape lens to my equipment bag.  I have a cheap 14mm manual focus fisheye lens that I used a number of times this winter in Hawaii but it has a couple of drawbacks.

  • Its heavy
  • It has a lot of distortion
  • It has a weird lens cap
  • Can’t use filters with it.

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My other wide choices currently is a Canon EF35mm f/2 IS USM
fixed focus prime lens which has become my standard go to lens and the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
“kit” lens which came with my Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
and is suppose to be an L quality lens but it has failed me a number of times.  Its extremely soft in the far end for my tastes and its reach isn’t that far anyway.  Besides its heavy and huge.  Attracts a lot of attention for its trouble.  Its not far enough to catch any wildlife in Banff so that lens will sit home to be replaced by the reasonably priced 70-300.  Besides, 24mm isn’t all that wide.  So in comes the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
which can replace my 35mm for this trip.  So the two lens, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
for landscape and the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
for wildlife and closeup landscape I should have a nice light rig for hiking around Banff.

The Canon EF 17 – 40mm in a nutshell:

  • 17-40mm ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • 3 aspherical lens elements and super UD glass element create superior optics in all conditions
  • Powerful ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) produces fast and silent autofocusing
  • Focuses as close as 11 inches; supports screw-in 77mm filters or up to 3 gel filters
  • Weather-resistant construction; measures 3.3 inches in diameter; 1-year warranty
  • $839 – $850
  • Lowest price lens in the “L” or red ring Canon line up of professional level lenses.

From one of my first test shoots using my new Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

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Canon 17-40 f4 AF-100 Lens Test from Erik Naso on Vimeo.

Normans Bay 5d mkII + Canon 17-40 from duncan sharp on Vimeo.

Canon M – The M is for Mirrorless

tips

My journey back into photography and specifically full on digital photography started with a mirror-less system, specifically the Panasonic G line of micro-four thirds cameras. The advantages in size and cost are substantial. My micro-four thirds system – body and several lenses, fit in the space of my full frame Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and EF24-105mm IS Lens Kit.

The cost of this lighter system comes in the sensor size. Small sensor means less of an ISO range, smaller files and less forgiving when it comes to post-processing. Plus it means a whole new batch of lenses that only fit in the micro-four thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus.

But now there is a new option for Canon uses who have a collection of Canon EF lens. The Canon EOS M 18.0 MP Compact Systems Camera compact camera using the 18MP APS-C ‘Hybrid CMOS’ sensor. This camera has two lenses specifically made for it or you can us an adapter and use the Canon EF mounted lenses you already have. Like perhaps the small Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM Lens or “pancake”.

Is this first version of the Canon M ready for prime time?  Well not exactly.  The autofocus is slow compared to other mirrorless cameras.  Maybe in the next go around or perhaps a firmware upgrade will solve the problems.

Essential Equipment

Selling Points:

  • Small size, lightweight
  • Large sensor size
  • DSLR quality for stills and video
  • Can take Canon EOS lenses
  • Simple controls
  • Great menu system
  • Touch screen
  • Live View focusing
  • Great video in a small package

What’s Missing?

  • No viewfinder – just non-rotating LCD
  • No built in flash (who cares about an under powered flash anyway)
  • Slow focus


Inspired by EOS technology, Canon developed the new EOS M Digital Camera. Canon introduced the market to Full HD video capture with smooth, quiet continuous autofocus made possible by Movie Servo AF and STM lenses, advanced CMOS sensor technology, and the processing power of DIGIC 5. The EOS M Digital Camera leverages these key technologies to deliver high-quality moving and still images with creativity provided by Canon’s extensive family of interchangeable lenses.

 

 

Baby snapping turtle

You never know what’s right around the bend

Photography

Ford Galaxy 500Art Prints

I’ve been heading down to Westbrook, CT these past few weekends to help my parents clean out their house for a permanent move to Florida. Its a three hour drive and I’ve been trying to make the most of it by stopping along the way at some of the exits which have promising signage. Places that I wouldn’t stop with the family (got to get home do homework or make it to a game) or with the dog in the car. Far too often photography is a solitary endeavor when one can have their mind free and clear to see the images.

This time I got off at Greenfield, MA, my “check engine” light flipped on and my “cruise” control light started blinking so I figured I might want to stop and check things out. Oil was fine, gas cap screwed on tight, nothing leaking under the car. So I figured I’d be alright but maybe I should let the car cool off a bit.

I saw a sign for the Hallmark Museum of Contemporary Photography (which the photography school in Turner Falls, MA) and decided I might as well point the car in that direction so I put it on the GPS. Never did make it. An old factory caught my eye as well as a local sculpture park. I can never pass up funky artwork or abandoned buildings so I walked around and checked things out.

While I was photographing the old abandoned and fenced off factory building a guy who was mowing the lawn motioned me over – “Are you photographing for work or hobby?” he asked.

Kind of a strange question but my spider sense told me that hobby was the less threatening of the two choices. I didn’t know what was going to come next. Did I have a permit or something?

He said “Come here I want to show you something” and motioned over to the bushes. Hmmm, I was getting a bit nervous at this point. It was a rather out of the way and crummy area. But it turns out he just wanted to show me the newly hatched snapping turtles that he nearly decapitated with his mower.

I thank him for showing me his discovery and went through the motions of photographing the cute little buggers. I hadn’t brought my macro lens but I did have my Panasonic LX5 which has a great macro capability.

Baby snapping turtle

Freshly hatched baby snapping turtle already escaped death by lawn mower.

I put the baby snapping turtle safely back in the brush on the river side of the road. Then it started to rain so I decided it was about time to get back on the road, that’s when I discovered on of my favorite shots of the day – a classic Ford Galaxy 500 parked on an empty street with classic New England triple decker houses. It was just too perfect. Empty street, the rain, classic car, classic background!

Vintage Ford Galaxy 500 car Art Prints

I just love seeing vintage cars “in the wild” as my engineering friend and car buff says.  The rain put an extra bleak look on the whole image.  You just never know what you’ll find around the corner.

This whole area of western Massachusetts has that old mill town feeling that photographer Gregory Crewdson loves to use in his work – like in the books Twilight, Beneath The Roses and the documentary about his work – Brief Encounters.

If you get a chance to see “Brief Encounters” do so! It’s fascinating.

Gregory Crewdson’s riveting photographs are elaborately staged, elegant narratives compressed into a single, albeit large-scale image, many of them taken at twilight, set in small towns of Western Massachusetts or meticulously recreated interior spaces, built on the kind of sound stages associated with big-budget movies. Shapiro’s fascinating profile of the acclaimed artist includes stories of his Park Slope childhood (in which he tried to overhear patients of his psychologist father), his summers in the bucolic countryside (which he now imbues with a sense of dread and foreboding), and his encounter with Diane Arbus’s work in 1972 at age 10. Novelists Rick Moody and Russell Banks, and fellow photographer Laurie Simmons, comment on the motivation behind their friend’s haunting images. — (C) Zeitgeist

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters

Edward M. Fielding is a fine art photographer in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire.

New Train Photographs by fine art photographer Edward M. Fielding

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Photographs of a moving steam train in animated sequence by photographer Edward M. Fielding - http://tinyurl.com/ocx3o83

Moving steam train in animated sequence by photographer Edward M. Fielding – http://tinyurl.com/ocx3o83

Newly released fine art photography images of classic steam trains from the Valley Railroad in Essex, Ct and Heritage Park in Calgary. To see more train photographs visit the gallery at: http://tinyurl.com/ocx3o83

Art Prints“The Coupling” a grungy, dark photograph of two old twisted, rusty, metal train cars joined together on a railroad siding off the beaten path at the Valley Railroad yard in Essex, Connecticut.

Photography PrintsA steam train emerging from a cloud of steam in the middle of the night. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding – www.edwardfielding.com

Sell Art OnlineA vintage steam locomotive thundering through a dark valley. Essex Steam Train, Valley Railroad, fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding – www.edwardfielding.com

Art PrintsNight time in a rail yard with a red caboose at the empty station. Photography by Edward M. Fielding

Sell Art OnlineOld worn out train tracks and ties in the Connecticut River Valley. Essex Steam Train, Valley Railroad, Essex Connecticut. Fine art photography by Edward M. Fielding

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Jonathan Luther “John” “Casey” Jones (March 14, 1863 April 30, 1900) was an American railroad engineer from Jackson, Tennessee, who worked for the Illinois Central Railroad (IC). As a boy, he lived near Cayce, Kentucky, where he acquired the nickname of “Cayce,” which he chose to spell as “Casey.” On April 30, 1900, he alone was killed when his passenger train, the Cannonball Express, collided with a stalled freight train at Vaughan, Mississippi, on a foggy and rainy night.

His dramatic death, trying to stop his train and save lives, made him a hero; he was immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African-American engine wiper for the IC.

 

Available as art prints, framed art, canvas and metal prints, cards, cell phone cases and more at:  http://tinyurl.com/ocx3o83

Which camera to really learn photography?

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A discussion of cameras that truly address the needs of real photographers.

I’ve come to the conclusion that beginners truly wanting to learn photography need a striped down camera. Instead of something with all the bell and whistles, which quite frankly the stuff professionals simply ignore, someone just starting out in photography would gain more value from a simple camera. And I’m not talking about things like “IA” or “Intelligent mode”, “Automatic mode” or “Idiot mode” as in the camera does all the work, no I mean a camera that gives the user quick and easy access to the three basic factors in photography – ISO, Aperature and Shutterspeed. It also would include a real viewfinder instead of an LCD screen and a single non-zoom lens.

Back in the film days the go to learners camera found in high schools everywhere was the Pentax K1000. It featured a needle exposure meter and an all mechanical design that could be used without the need of batteries.

The Pentax K1000 (originally marked the Asahi Pentax K1000) is an interchangeable lens, 35 mm film, single-lens reflex (SLR) camera, manufactured by Asahi Optical Co., Ltd. from 1976 to 1997, originally in Japan. The K1000’s extraordinary longevity makes it a historically significant camera. The K1000’s inexpensive simplicity was a great virtue and earned it an unrivaled popularity as a basic but sturdy workhorse. The Pentax K1000 eventually sold over three million units.

Pentax K1000 camera

Instead of going through a bunch of confusing software menus, a camera such as this gave the user instant access to all of the important elements of an exposure via mechanical dials.  Plus this was the pre-autofocus days so the user was actually fully involved in selecting where the image would be focused on.

I picked up this Petri Racer camera at a flea market basically as a photo prop because to me it has all of the features of what one would expect in a film era single lens reflex camera.  Although this is actually a rangefinder camera.

The Petri Racer is a Japanese fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder introduced in 1966. It features a built-in match-needle coupled CdS lightmeter but no automatic exposure program. It could be equipped with a Petri 2.8/45 or 1.8/45 lens. The shutter is a ten-speed Petri.

Petri Racer Rangefiner Camera

With a rangefinder camera you don’t look through the lens but rather through a separate view finder.  To focus you set the distance of the subject on the lens.  Street photographers love type of camera because they can preset the focus and then shoot from the hip without bringing the camera to their eye and perhaps alerting their subject.  Without a mirror flipping up and down, rangefinders are also very quiet.  Also the camera came standard with a 35mm lens which is a favorite focal length of street photographers as it provides enough of a wide angle to include the “story” of a scene.

For someone learning photography, this camera like the Pentax K100 has a lot of mechanical features and all of the settings are visable at a glance.  On the lens itself there is an ASA ring (to days film sensitivity or ISO), aperture setting, shutter speed (The Petri Racer only has 10 shutter speeds from B to 500) and distance settings.

The only thing important thing missing in these basic vintage mechanical camera is the instant feedback afford by today’s modern digital cameras.  The ability to gain instant feedback on exposure, composition plus the zero cost of recorder images digitally compared to the old film days of buying expensive film and waiting until the roll is finished and processed to see how well you are progressing to me is the most amazing thing about modern photography.  Digital has the ability to shave years off of the learning curve as well as saving the beginner a lot of money.  If your first 10,000 photographs are your worst as famously said by Henri Cartier-Bresson, is true then at least with digital it doesn’t really cost anything to shoot, evaluate and delete 10,000 images.

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Modern equalilants

So are there modern equivalents to these old workhorse learning cameras?  Unfortunately in the digital era there haven’t been too many “striped down to the essentials” cameras on the market.  Manufacturers have been in such competition to bring out feature after feature that even today’s inexpensive point and shoot is chock full of “features” that most people probably forget about after they leave the store.  Who really wants to have to remember a laundry list of “exciting” features and modes for every situation under the sun?  Wouldn’t you rather have an understanding of exposure and then easy access to controlling the elements of exposure – ISO, Shutterspeed and Aperature.  Don’t you think if you got all of the whiz bang features and modes out of the way maybe we could concentration on taking a good photograph instead of flipping through menus?

Well finally there are some cameras coming out of the market that addresses this interest for a more basic, let me say “photographers camera” as opposed to gadget lovers camera.

One of the major players in the rangefinder market has always been Leica.  The favorite of famous street photographers, Leica cameras have always been focused on quality where it counts. Fantastic lenses, sturdy bodies, and only the features photographers really need. Leica 10773 M-P (Typ 240) 24MP SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)

But beginning photographers rarely have $7,000-$8,000 to spend on a camera!

Luckily for those a bit more budget conscious we are now starting to see some more reasonably prices rangefinder type cameras come on the market.  In the past I’ve had experience with some “pro” style point and shoot cameras like the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX7K 10.1 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Optical zoom and 3.0-inch LCD – Black, which include more manual dials then the average point and shoot and emphasis a quality lens.

One camera that has caught eye lately is the Fujifilm X30 12 MP Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Silver)

The Fujifilm X30 is a stylish, premium compact camera with class-leading functionality, superb design, enhanced battery performance and unrivaled image quality. This large-sensor premium compact has evolved from the best-selling X20 camera. In addition to its high quality 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor, the X30 features an impressive real-time viewfinder, EXR Processor II and a new control ring along with extra dials and function buttons for more control. Tilting 3.0-inch 920K-dot LCD monitor, improved battery performance (approximately 470 photos /charge), remote WiFi shooting from your smartphone and a variety of manual functions make shooting with the X30 a true pleasure.

  • 12MP 2/3-inch X-TransTM CMOS II sensor with no Optical Low Pass Filter
  • 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder with 0.65x magnification
  • Bright F2.0-2.8 Fujinon 4 x Optical Zoom Len
  • Instinctive control ring
  • 11 Film Simulation Modes including – New Classic Chrome, Provia, Velvia and Astia

I’m thinking that this camera would make a fantastic camera for someone who really wants to learn photography.  In has the instinctive manual controls needed to truly grasp the concepts of photography. The new control ring, which automatically determines the most appropriate settings for the chosen shooting mode, functions like aperture, shutter speed and more can be quickly chosen without taking your eye from the viewfinder. This is complemented by the manual zoom ring, and physical dials which have become a hallmark of the X series.

I also like the large sensor, HD video quality, fast autofocus, large viewfinder (something missing from a lot of smaller cameras) and an built in interval timer for time lapse video (something my Canon 6D doesn’t even have).  The camera also has WIFI features such as remote control via a smartphone and WIFI image transfer.  Rather amazing package for less than $600.

This trend for more easy access to controls is certainly one I’d like to see continue. The market needs more cameras focused on photography and less on glitz. The low end market is disappearing as the snapshooters realize that all they need and want is their cellphone to take Facebook snaps. Time to bring out cameras for real photographers who want easy access to the things they actually want.

The Fujifilm X100S 16 MP Digital Camera with 2.8-Inch LCD (Silver) features an larger sensor.

Patent Art – makes a unique gift

Products

My patent art has been very popular lately on Fine Art America.  I have a whole gallery dedicated to classic patent drawings for popular products everyone knows and loves like Monopoly, Tonka, Legopatents for cameras, guns, golf equipment, toys and even space man ray guns.  Patent art is fun and even a educational!  Perfect for dorm rooms, offices, apartments and makes a great gift idea.

’Sell’Sell’Art’Photography’Art

Reproductions of the original patent copy and drawings submitted to the US Patent & Trademark Office. Art makes unique gifts for occupations.

Limited Time Promotion on “Night Train” by Edward M. Fielding

Products

Celebrating the release of my new image “Night Train” taken at the Essex Steam Train at the Valley Railroad in Connecticut.  The first 25 people to take advantage of this offer in the next 4 days and 22 hours can purchase it for a special price of $65 for a big canvas print.

Promotional Link:  http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=150882

Art Prints
 

  • Night Train Canvas Print
  • by Edward Fielding
  • Purchase a 16.00″ x 20.00″ stretched canvas print of Edward Fielding’s Night Train for the promotional price of:
  • $65
  • A museum-quality stretched canvas print
  • All orders ship within one business day from our production facility in North Carolina.

 

Limited Time Promotion on “Night Train” by Edward M. Fielding

Products

Celebrating the release of my new image “Night Train” taken at the Essex Steam Train at the Valley Railroad in Connecticut.  The first 25 people to take advantage of this offer in the next 4 days and 22 hours can purchase it for a special price of $65 for a big canvas print.

Promotional Link:  http://fineartamerica.com/weeklypromotion.html?promotionid=150882

Art Prints
 

  • Night Train Canvas Print
  • by Edward Fielding
  • Purchase a 16.00″ x 20.00″ stretched canvas print of Edward Fielding’s Night Train for the promotional price of:
  • $65
  • A museum-quality stretched canvas print
  • All orders ship within one business day from our production facility in North Carolina.